Notice that nowhere in there did I claim to be a thug. I am no one’s nigger/nigga. I’m not a baby daddy ducking and dodging my responsibilities. I am not a criminal, a felon, nor have I ever been a suspect. But that can change with my hands up and the pull of a trigger….



Nouns: The Man Behind The Moms


I was announced as a boy, I was born a son. In those first moments of life, every new breath I took confirmed my role as a baby brother, a grandson, a nephew, and a cousin.

Two years later I became a big brother. I would repeat that role three more times. They began to Noun 11introduce me to the world, where I became a friend, a classmate, and to few, a regular playmate.

I was being raised as a Black boy by strong Black women. They sent me off to become a student. I excelled. Before 1st grade I was someone’s best friend. 2nd grade I became a poet. I’ve never looked back. All the way till 6th grade I was a scholar.

In church I became a tenor, an usher, a Master of Ceremony, a soloist, a Sunday School teacher, a leader, and an object of affection (boyfriend?). Clearly not all at once.

After Winter Recess of 7th grade I was a certified flirt. Before the end of my Jr. High career I was a 3x Champ. I found out I was someone’s crush. I became some what of a dancer (modern, jazz, ballet) and almost considered myself an artist. I was definitely a growing socialite and a victim of some SERIOUS puppy love.

High school came and I became even more. I was a growing, young Black man. I became a stepper; a performer. I was somebody’s boyfriend. I mean FOR REAL boyfriend. I became somebody’s first…on more than one occasion and in more than one sense.

I became a graduate. I became a son/brother/nephew/cousin/Grandson they could be proud of.




Then I became I college man.

Through the years I was a repeated lover…even while being a boyfriend. I became a spoken word artist. I love the stage. I honed my skills as a confidant, a comforter, and a companion. I became a frat; a brother in a different sense.



So much has changed since then. I am a born again New Yorker. I’m Youth Development Professional. I’ve been a supervisor to people who were once my peers. I’m a resource to those looking for work. I am a coach to the young and know-it-alls, trying to whip them into shape.  I am an above and beyond uncle, and an appointed Godfather. I am an optimist and a humanitarian. I’ve been a part of a Millennial movement and I’ve had the honor of being a best man.  Nouns

Notice that nowhere in there did I claim to be a thug. I am no one’s nigger/nigga. I’m not a baby daddy ducking and dodging my responsibilities. I am not a criminal, a felon, nor have I ever been a suspect. But that can change with my hands up and the pull of a trigger….

I am a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a Grandson, a lover and a friend they can be proud of. I am a strong Black man raised by strong Black women.





Pregnancy Scare #1; Fearless Mom: Daneka

Name: Daneka McRae                                                        IMG_20131208_180132 (1)

Age: 29

Graduated high school: 2002

P.S.: August 2003

Number of children: 2

The Uh-Oh Moment: I found out I was pregnant in my freshman year of college. I was 18. My first thoughts were, “My mother is going to kill me and I am not ready to have a baby; and neither is he.”

The Mom Moment: I was a Mom before my time because I raised my little brother. I always had a motherly instinct. When I had my own (in December 2009, then again January 2011) it was just naturally who I was already…a mom.

Meet 4 year old Amare and 2 year old Amir.
Meet 4 year old Amare and 2 year old Amir.

***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

 Father/ Dad? He’s a father.

 When we found out we were having our first son he was extremely happy. The pregnancy was great emotionally, yet physically draining, but he was very supportive. With our second son, it was the  complete opposite. I felt like he was very distant and inconsistent and didn’t really want to be around.

We are not together but legally married. I find it very difficult to co-parent with him because of our history.

How far did the apple fall from the tree? I feel like he caught the apple in his hand. Neither his father or mother was around. She dropped him off with his grandmother.

His mother would see him for a few days or weeks. She showed love by saying “I love you” and to her, that was enough. She did not go the extra mile.

Them vs. You: Surprisingly my parents said nothing harsh about the pregnancy, but more so about the father. It hurt my feelings because I was so “in love” at the time. I wanted them to see him like I did. Instead they saw right past that. But their criticism made me stronger. Whenever he slacked off I did double or sometimes triple the efforts for our sons and gave him the credit just to prove them wrong. I became a single, married mother quickly.

I feel like my parents and I have similar parenting styles, but I carry more of how my grandmother raised and took care of my mom,my aunts, and uncles. I get a lot of advice from her.

Fearful Moment Having the boys watch me and their father fight. Having them watch me get physically assaulted by their father and laughing. Moving from NY to Massachusetts.

Fearless Moment Just thinking about how far they have come and grown even in a short period of time.

Family first.
Family first.

Support System Prayer, my family, my best friends, and my children.

My best friend was SUPER EXCITED! My best friend is my children’s Godmother. She is actually helping me in co-parenting my children being that we moved out of state.

Final thoughts The first time I got pregnant I was 18. I was secretly excited but I knew my mother would be extremely disappointed in me which is why I had an abortion (poor excuse). I still think about it everyday. It was scary. If I ever had any regrets in life, that would be the only one. After that experience I said I would focus and graduate college, get a job, get married, and have children. I do think I got married too quickly. We eloped and had a wedding party… long story short my marriage failed. I was in a marriage and relationship filled with Domestic Violence. I am at a loss for words right now. If you have any questions or want to know more in regards to my story feel free to email me mcraedaneka@gmail.com